The #63 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the hands of Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind took a lights-to-flag victory at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Round Four of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship. Dennis Lind brought the #63 entry home nearly 49 seconds ahead of the #18 WPI Motorsport Lamborghini of Michael Igoe and Phil Keen.
Completing the overall podium positions was the #5 Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 of the father-and-son crew of Stewart and Lewis Proctor.
In the GT4 category, class honours went to the #90 Balfe Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4 of Ashley Marshall and Jack Brown followed by the #27 Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 of Matt Topham and Darren Turner. Turner had finished first on-track but a penalty for track limit offences meant that the Aston Martin factory driver was handed a post-race 30s penalty.
The top three in the GT4 category was completed by the #57 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4, piloted by Will Burns and Gus Burton
Leo Machitski led the field away from pole position as drama developed as the grid crossed the start/finish line. An incident involving Richard Neary’s #8 Team Abba Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, Ian Loggie’s #6 RAM Racing Mercedes and Mia Flewitt’s #21 Team Rocket RJN McLaren meant that Neary and Flewitt were immediately out of the race and the #6 car had to return to the pits for lengthy repairs.
The safety car was called and the grid was directed through the pit lane as debris was cleared from the start-finish straight. The two-hour contest was neutralised for 15 minutes to allow for the retrieval of the #8 Mercedes and when racing resumed, Andrew Howard was in second followed by Stewart Proctor.
Proctor remained under pressure from Michael Igoe in the #18 Lamborghini with Adam Balon pushing hard from fourth. Igoe and Balon briefly swapped positions before a mistake by the #1 pilot allowed Igoe some respite.
An uncharacteristic error by the Beechdean AMR crew saw Howard enter the pit lane before the pit window had opened, the result of which was a penalty for the #7 car.
Lewis Proctor, now at the wheel of the #5 McLaren was caught out by GT4 traffic allowing Phil Keen through for second. Lind by now had built up a lead of over 40 seconds and was only slightly delayed by some GT4 traffic as he took the chequered flag for Leo Machitski’s first British GT victory.
Beechdean AMR recovered from the pit stop penalty and Ross Gunn, substituting for Jonny Adam, fought hard to keep 2020 champion Sandy Mitchell behind him as the raced entered its final laps.
In the GT4 class, Ashley Marshall started the #90 McLaren from fourth on the class grid and narrowly avoided the race start mayhem. Contact at La Source, however, meant that the steering was affected and the #90 car had throttle issues for the remainder of the race.
Marshall kept pushing and had passed Will Burns for the class lead before handing over to teammate Brown.
After the driver changes, Darren Turner, now at the wheel of the #27 Aston Martin, was on a charge and passed Katie Milner in the #4 McLaren before setting up about chasing down Brown in the leading McLaren.
Turner took the lead into Fagnes and look set to take the chequered flag for the win before the penalty was announced. Turner stayed out and was served with a 30 second post-race time addition.
Following their lights-to-flag victory, Barwell’s Machitski and Lind now lead the overall GT3 drivers standings on 87, followed by Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard on 85.5 points. Howard stands alone in second place due to regular teammate Jonny Adam being unable to travel to Spa as he was following COVID protocols.
Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman hold third place in the standings on 79.5 points.
In the GT4 class, Century Motorsport’s Will Burns and Gus Burton remain at the top of the drivers standings on 115.5 points, 34.5 points ahead of teammates Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke. Matt Topham and Darren Turner hold third place in the standings on 64.5 points.
The Intelligent Money British GT Championship returns to the UK for Rounds Five and Six at Snetterton on August 7 – 8.